Smart employers know that employee vacation time is a key component of employee wellness. When employees get some time away from work, they return rested and ready to tackle their job with renewed energy and creativity.
However, you may notice that your employees are hesitant to take a vacation, even though they are entitled to vacation time off. This is especially the case for the younger workers in your team.
In fact, Project: Time Off found that Millennials in particular are highly likely to give up their vacation time because they feel there is too much work to do or they fear they will be replaced. As an employer, you know that employees who take vacations return refreshed, energized, and are more focused and productive.
So here are are four simple ways to encourage employees to take time off.
How to Encourage Your Team to Use Employee Vacation Time
1. Have a Clear Employee Vacation Policy
First, make sure your employee vacation policy is clearly outlined. A policy that is clear and available to all shows that you, as the employer, value the importance of vacation time for employees. If your employees feel supported in taking their vacations, they are more likely to use them.
To create a vacation policy, first check what the mandatory minimums are for your province. Your policy must meet these. However, employers have the option to offer more than these minimums. You can build in health and wellness days in addition to annual and statutory holidays. (We do this at Montridge for our team!)
Also, consider having a "shutdown" or slower pace during holidays, like the week between Christmas and New Years, which gives your employees extra time off while still receiving full pay.
Finally, when it comes to workload, ensure you make preparations for who will handle the vacationing employee’s work while they are away, and how they will be transitioned back to work when they return.
2. Make Vacationing Part of Workplace Wellness
A culture of workplace wellness is critical to encouraging a positive atmosphere and a productive team. Build vacation into this culture.
You already know that vacation is important, but simply knowing this information isn't enough. You must communicate the benefits to your team, or they may be hesitant in taking time off.
You can share the mental/emotional benefits of vacation with them, such as stress reduction and improved mood, while also emphasizing the physical health benefits. For instance, let your employees know that vacations prevent heart disease! In fact, vacationing can reduce men's risk by 32% and women’s risk by 50%!
3. Don't Tolerate Vacation Shaming
Vacation shaming occurs when co-workers, or even bosses, discourage people from taking vacations. Even if this is done in a joking manner, the result is that employees feel guilty for taking time off. Millennials are particularly susceptible to vacation shaming, and may feel pressure to avoid vacations as a result.
And unfortunately, it happens more often than you might think. According to research done by Alamo Rental Car, 59% of Millennials report feeling shamed for taking a vacation.
By openly communicating the importance of vacations, having a plan in place to handle the workload, and supporting workers when they take time off, you can help prevent these attitudes.
If every employee feels free and able to take regular vacations, it’s less likely they will shame others for doing so.
4. Take Your Own Regular Vacations
One of the easiest ways to communicate the value and benefits of vacations to your employees is to take your own, and set boundaries around your time off. By doing this, you empower your employees to do the same.
You will also experience the same renewed energy and focus when you take your own vacations, which is a plus for the organization as a whole.
Be sure to unplug during your vacation, and make sure your employees know you are out of reach while you are gone. This will encourage them to do the same when taking their own vacation time, so they can truly rest.
Taking regular vacations has never been as important as it is today.
Employees are dealing with increased demands at work, and things are happening at a faster and faster pace. Helping your team take the time to unplug to rest and recharge is crucial in maintaining a healthy organization.
Don’t allow fear or negative attitudes to prevent your team from taking the time that is rightfully theirs. Encourage employees to take vacation in order to create a better workplace for all.
When your employees feel supported in taking time off, the benefits will reach across the entire company.
Ready to learn more about how employee wellness is good for business?
Employee Wellness 101: How Healthy Employees Lead to Healthy Returns
Discover how you can improve the well-being of your employees and improve your company's bottom line with a wellness program.